“We’re in a FOG! I can’t see you!” My friend and I are running behind a DDT truck as close as we can get to the sputtering machine pumping out noxious gas to kill mosquitoes. The mosquitoes that live by the thousands on our tiny island called Guam. We are not alone. Kids from all over the neighborhood join the ritual. It’s fun to be in a fog surrounded by only whiteness. Get as close as you can without keeling over from the fumes. And of course the truck is moving so you need to run, hold your breath, stop to catch a breath, then run some more before you get left behind.
The fog came in today while I was dashing around the monument. (Yes, yes I did dash on the runway.) And made me think of those evenings on Guam when we chased the DDT truck. Our kids wonder that I’m alive. They also wonder why they don’t all have six legs or three eyes.
Life on Guam. In the fifties. Perfect in every way. Mom said it. Dad said it. We live it. We three and baby sister Suzanne, born there mid-tour. It really is perfect. The weather is always warm, we have no windows or even screens, only louvers to close for privacy. Rain comes in showers and leaves just as fast. Flowers are everywhere. The war is over long enough that living standards on the AFB are comfortable.
We are cautioned to not stray too far away from civilization because Japanese soldiers still hid in the hills. We mostly stay on base. There is hardly any civilization to stray away from anyway. Agana, the capital, is a tiny village. There are a couple of public beaches. You have to wear shoes because the coral will cut your feet. But the shallow warm water with no dangerous marine life is a child’s playground. It only gets deep beyond the reef.
We are warned to never get on the reef. A rogue wave can wash you off. Into the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean. Of course Dad has to urge Mom has to take on the challenge. Tumon Bay (you don’t want to click on that link, you really don’t) is our favorite beach. Dad can take our jeep (no seat belts, no doors) from the top of the towering limestone cliff to the sandy beach at the bottom in seconds flat. Beats any roller coaster I’ve ever been on. We swim. We bring our own lunch and snacks. We find incredible shells in tiny caves along the shore. We gather coconuts that fall from the palms. Take them home and after way too much work get to the succulent meat inside. The folks that visit Tumon Bay today haven’t the foggiest notion what slice of paradise they’ve missed.